The Church/Masjid and the State

The Church/Masjid and the State

In Islam, the state is a unity and there is no distinction or dualism of the masjid and the state. During the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) and his four rightly guided successors, the church/masjid and the state were not separate entities with separate authorities. Masjid had a multi-faceted role including an office of the head of the state, a place of meetings of the cabinet/council as well as meetings with foreign delegates, and a community centre. There is no priesthood in Islam and no so-called religious authority separate from the state authorities. The distinction or separation of the state and the church/masjid was made during the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties who ruled after the first four successors of the Prophet (s.a.w.). The head of the Islamic state is neither a high priest nor an infallible representative of God. Even the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself said that ‘I am a man like you’[1], and that ‘even if I disobey the Almighty, I fear the penalty of the Mighty day’[2], and that ‘I am the first one to submit to the will of the Almighty’[3]. In the Islamic State, the ruler and all those in authority are subject to same laws as everybody else.

[1] Al-Quran Surah 18: Verse 110; Surah 41: Verse 6

[2] Al-Quran Surah 6: Verse 15; Surah 10: Verse 15; Surah 39: Verse 13

[3] Al-Quran Surah 6: Verse 14

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